Fans, players and officials are being invited to celebrate the EVO-STIK League’s landmark fiftieth anniversary this season by choosing the playing legends to feature in a specially commissioned book charting the competition’s proud history.
As well as taking part in an online poll to name their ‘Top 100 NPL Players of All Time’ and ‘NPL Team of All Time’ since the foundation of the Northern Premier League in 1968, they’ll also have the chance to contribute to the historic book by sharing their stories and memories before its publication in time for the climax of this season's NPL50 celebrations at next June's end of season awards night at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool.
A one-off anniversary logo unveiled today will be used to flag up the anniversary celebrations, poll and upcoming book, the publicity all driven by the EVO-STIK League’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the results covered with regular updates on the official website throughout the campaign.
Entitled ‘50 Glorious Seasons - A History of the Northern Premier League 1968-2018’, the book is currently being written by the EVO-STIK League’s official historian and statistician Dominic McKenzie who is aiming to produce the definitive history of the competition with chapters on everything from the story behind the NPL’s foundation to its greatest cup kings and star graduates.
The retired teacher and grandfather has already spent the best part of the last year researching the book with Manchester Central Library a favoured haunt as he prepares interviews with leading figures in the evolution of the Northern Premier League including president Noel White, the former chairman of the Football Association’s International Committee and one of the founding architects of the Premier League. Others include Brenda Swales, the widow of another of the NPL’s famous founders, Peter Swales, the late Altrincham and Manchester City chairman.
The author believes that some of the most important material to bring the history to life and even be preserved in an online archive being considered for the future, will come from the league’s fans, players and officials.
He said: “We will have completed 50 seasons and I want to incorporate as much as I can from the very beginning to the end of the current campaign to tell the whole story. What I am really looking forward to is the anecdotes and reminiscences that people have along with facts and records, especially from the early days. This is, of course, even more vital where clubs have gone out of existence.
“I’ll also be very grateful for photos of grounds in the past, the personalities who helped make the league what it is and frankly anything else from drawings and sketches to maps and plans showing how grounds used to look. Newspaper cuttings, programme notes and other publications will also be of great assistance.
“I am after anything that would add to the interest. For instance, there is a story about Morecambe travelling to play at Scarborough in the early days of substitutes and as it turned out they didn't have a sub so named the bus driver as their sub! Happily for him, he was not required and I'd love to know in which season it happened.
“So I would welcome anything from club historians and the 'stattos' and archivists who followed the league since its inception or at least since they were old enough! I can also guarantee that all original materials would be 'treasured', copied if required and returned either by recorded delivery or in person."
He added: “The dedicated email address for people to get in touch has been set up now at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can’t wait to see the Northern Premier League’s community of clubs, officials and supporters get involved in the recording of their proud history and I’ll be making sure all offerings and assistance will be gratefully acknowledged in its pages.”
Updated 14:01 - 8 Nov 2017 by James McCafferty